England and Scotland 2012:: Days 4, 6, & 7: Edinburgh
When we arrived in Edinburgh, it was raining lightly. This was Bobby's and my first time in Edinburgh, aside from riding through on the train to somewhere else, so we let Kirsty lead the way through the gray, rainy weather. We, of course, forgot our umbrella; we would later purchase a new one, which ensured it would never rain hard enough again that we'd need it. We arrived at the B&B rather damp. Bobby, of course, wanted to go exploring right away; normally, I'm more than game for that, but my already damp outerwear was all that I had, we had our trip to the Highlands the next morning, and the forecast said snow. Snow! We couldn't get a sniff of that back home all winter. So I asked that we settle on an actual destination rather than just wandering around, to give my jacket a chance to dry. We settled on the National Museum of Scotland, which was far enough away that we got the lay of the city without getting soaked.
The museum was fabulous too. We started on the ground floor of the Scottish history exhibit; we didn't make it far because it was probably the best natural history exhibit I'd been through. (Bobby agrees.) Halfway through, we had a sandwich and a cup of tea in the cafe; we planned to stay and leave to meet Sharon and Kirsty for supper, but the museum closed at five, so we walked back to the B&B. That night, we had scheduled a ghost tour through the underground vaults of Edinburgh. Ghost tours are a favorite of all of us, and this one was rated the scariest in the UK or something along those lines. We grabbed supper first, then headed to the Mercat Cross outside of St. Giles Cathedral. The tour was really good; the guide was an excellent storyteller. About half of the tour was aboveground, then we headed into the vaults, which was a first for all of us.
The next day was Bobby's and my trip to the Highlands; I'll do a separate post for that.
Wednesday, we were back in Edinburgh to see the sights around the city. Bobby and I started off by ourselves and headed to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, where the Queen goes each summer. This entailed first walking nearly the whole length of the Royal Mile, with some popping into shops along the way, most notably a storytelling shop, where Dawn picked up a book on world myths for the world literature class she teaches, we found a storybook for Amiah, and we oohed and aahed over and eventually purchased a set of storytelling cards for use in our respective classrooms.
Here we are at the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
The walk moved through the rooms the royal procession would have passed through, as well as rooms used by Mary Queen of Scots, the ruined abbey out back, and the gardens.
The abbey and palace from the gardens.
Next, Bobby wanted to climb Arthur's Seat, which is the highest point in Edinburgh.
I have to admit that I was cranky about this. I normally am game for things like this, but my bad foot was aching terribly (it's nearly fully recovered, but I wasn't exactly easy on it while in Edinburgh). Due to said foot, I am badly out of shape, so uphill climbs are very unpleasant. And the weather was awful: Despite promised sunshine that day, it was rainy-drizzly, cold, and windy. I did my best, but I wasn't happy about it, and it was terrible on my foot. Then, to add insult to injury (literally), we got about halfway up, and the means to reach the top wasn't immediately apparently without climbing back down, and I just couldn't do another uphill slog. Here's the view from where we reached:
(Yes, I realize it looks blue-sky beautiful in this picture, but it was raining when we started the climb and when we finished, and the wind was vicious. The weather was very mercurial.)
We stopped for lunch at a pub on our way back up the Royal Mile, which gave my poor foot a much-needed rest, since we still had a lot of day ahead of us. Then we met Sharon and Kirsty at Edinburgh Castle.
Actually, they got there well before we did, so we ended up going through separately. Edinburgh Castle was big and very busy. Apparently, it is still in use in places, so we weren't allowed into the whole thing. Luckily, arriving late as we did, the crowds were beginning to clear as we went through.
The view from the castle of the mountains--with snow on them!
Various castle pictures, with and without Felagunds.
Do I look cold?? I was!
After the castle, we took a taxi back to the B&B, at which point we had to make a supper decision. *sigh* I don't think any of us felt like going back out, but Bobby and I had found a pub called The Albanach that afternoon, and we decided to give that a try. We are glad that we did. Although we got there late, it was still packed, and the food was very good. Because they were so busy, we were there for a while, but we had many laughs while we did. At the end of the meal, Bobby asked to see the Scotch whiskey menu, since that was their specialty, and it turns out that our server was a whiskey expert and walked up through what he thought we might like based on our tastes up to that point. Bobby, Kirsty, and I all ended up trying something--Bobby tried two things!--even though Kirsty had never tried whiskey before. (Bobby and I corrupted her a bit, convincing her into trying whiskey, Guinness, and jalapenos at varying points on the trip.) I tried the Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban, which was fabulous. (I never liked Scotch but have developed a taste from sipping on Bobby's so much at the fire pit. He's a corrupting influence, clearly.) We all tasted each other's, and this was hands-down my favorite. Here is the requisite self-taken toast photograph, with poor Kirsty buried behind Bobby and Sharon gamely hoisting a jug of plain water:
The next morning was brilliant and sunny--just in time to catch the train back home! Nonetheless, it was a great trip. Here are random pictures from around the city that I couldn't fit in elsewhere. The architecture of the city is fabulous.
Aaaand ... for the Harry Potter fans on my flist: the pub where J.K. Rowling wrote part of Harry Potter.
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